Jimmy Smith has come a long way. From the absolutely dreadful 2011 game in San Diego where Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson took him to school to the numerous times were he was flagged for holding and pass interference for being unable to find the ball. Now, however, Jimmy Smith has arrived. Smith broke out last year, showing off much improved ball skills and technique to go along with his already outstanding athleticism.
Examining his skill set, there are few weaknesses to be found. When Smith plays press coverage (which defensive coordinator Dean Pees should let him do more often) he is tough to beat. Going back to the Week 15 match up against Detroit, Calvin Johnson caught six receptions for 98 yards, a pedestrian game by Megatron status.
All but two receptions were against zone coverage and one of those two was a flare pass for two yards, where Smith also took the opportunity to lay a pretty good stick. With his much improved technique, I see Smith as an elite press corner. So much so that my brothers and I have adopted the surname "Jimmy Pro Bowl". Its caught on.
From Week 10 and beyond, Jimmy Smith could almost pass for Chris McAlister in his prime, minus the loose jersey floating on the latter's back. McAlister also traveled. Rex Ryan took full advantage of his abilities and they, in return, made the defense, especially in 2006 special.
Pees committed to the strategy against Detroit and Smith followed Johnson to both outsides while Corey Graham took the slot. The Ravens should employ the same strategy this Sunday, with Lardarius Webb picking up slot duties.
In the last home game Baltimore had facing Cincinnati, the Ravens held Green to six catches for 52 yards if two rather fluky plays are eliminated. If Smith shadows, I personally expect the stat line to read around four catches for 40 yards. I respect Green. I respect his skill-set. But when a top corner faces a top receiver, it is wise to take the top corner, as Darelle Revis once proved in shutting down Megatron to the tune of a single catch for 13 meager yards.
Yes, I am saying Smith has Revis like ability. But like McAlister, Revis had Ryan, a coordinator who made corners of the similar skill set thrive. For it to completely come together, Pees needs to flex his scheme when receivers like Green come to town.
For Jimmy Pro Bowl, his mission starts Sunday. I, for one, completely trust him.